NOTE: I came across this post from 2015 in my Drafts – posting it now for my own reminder of how this running thing even started. Who would have thought that that one time I was a PE teacher would have had such a valuable change in my physical activity and goal setting.
Motivation – When I began teaching PE 7 or 8 years ago, I started thinking about running the mile with my students. I hadn’t run a timed/graded mile since junior high/high school and honestly, I think I failed the mile test most of the times I attempted it. So, I remember working to reach a simple mile so that I could show my students that I was willing to work towards a goal just as I was asking them to do. My interest was sparked again 3-4 years ago when I needed something new in my activity routine. I definitely was motivated by goal setting as well as health. I ran some 5Ks, but a friend of mine who turns 50 this year and has done several halfs persuaded me to do the SB 1/2 with her. So, I started training in March
Training – For the most part, I looked up things online, had conversations with friends who run, and downloaded a couple of apps. I have used Endomondo for most of my runs over the past years – it simply tracks distance and rate and speaks prompts at every mile, letting you know what your pace was for that mile as well as total time thus far. I like this APP because it keeps a running history I can look back at. I can also add notes to each run to record any challenges I faced or thoughts on how I felt during the run. I also found GIPIS. This app allows you to enter your last run stats, what race you are preparing for, and then provides a plan for each week leading up to the race. This includes some interval training, tempo runs, long runs, etc. It also uses GPS to tell you when to speed up or slow down in order to keep the pace it has planned. This works ok, but I generally just use the suggested pacing if I am limited to using the treadmill. For me, interval pacing is easier to track on the treadmill, but I do what I can to NOT run on the treadmill….too boring most of the time. Intervals help challenge your run and hopefully increase your time. I know there are plenty of other training plans and apps out there, but these are what have worked for me so far, so I think I will keep them around.
Visited and ran part of the race site – April – Spring Break – try it out
Challenges – Running is definitely as much a mental game as much as a physical one. Each long run was challenging the last mile or two, whether I was running 5 miles the first time or 12 miles. They were tough both mentally and physically. Also, weather is challenging. Now, for the most part Southern California weather is pleasant, but wind at the beach deterred me a few times from a strong run. Injuries are another challenge. I definitely did too much 6-7 weeks before the race in SB. I struggled with a foot injury, strained calf, and knee troubles. The best thing I could do when these arose was to stop and just give my body rest. I have learned mostly to listen. I remember waiting 2 weeks to get back to running and when I started, I knew right away that I needed to stop. So I did. It was completely frustrating because I felt that I had waited long enough. Ultimately, it was the best choice.
Race day – I was mostly afraid that I would eat the wrong thing or not get enough sleep or just be “off” on race day. So, I was definitely anxious about the whole new experience.
Pros and Cons
- The course is not nearby, so it limits your knowledge of what is ahead.
- Many hills – although what I thought was going to be the most challenging part (starting immediately uphill) ended up being one of the easiest parts
- Running with a friend
- Few participants – allowed for just enough adrenaline, but not overkill. Also allowed for easy bib pick up the night before, and could have easily been done the morning of
- Perfect weather – 66 degrees most of the time